Shea Moisture. Cantu. African Pride. Miss Jessie's. Aunt Jackie's. The Mane Choice. Alikay Naturals. Do these products sound familiar? Well, to those who are not familiar with these names, these are natural hair products. Products made for African American women for all types of natural curl. Including myself! My favorite hair product is Shea Moisture. Why do we do this? To feel good about ourselves? To gain confidence through the views of the world?
Yet, throughout the products and what we see on television, are the stereotypes true? When it comes to the stereotypes, black women are known to care for their hair more than our physical and mental health. However, there is a way to cope with ourselves greater than how we show our appearance.
As I think of the capabilities of black women, I observe that we can accomplish so much. For instance, Michelle Obama. She's always had a path of success throughout the hardships, now she is the former First lady of the United States, and bestselling author of her book, "Becoming." Throughout all her journey, did she ever think about her appearance? I believed that she gained self-confidence through her intelligence and ambition.
As a black woman, I admire others who pushed pass expectations of others. It shows me that I was meant for greatness, and not for the approval of appearance. I do admit, I used to focus on my hair as if it was a second job, but when I realized I'm more than my looks, I turned things around.
On the entertainment side, artists and actors share this message. For instance, India. Arie created a song called, "I Am Not My Hair," featuring Akon. The song demonstrates that as black women, we are more than the expectations given to us. Whether it's natural hair, perm, press n curl, we are greater than our hair.
In September 2018, Netflix released a movie called, "Nappily Ever After," featuring Sanaa Lathan, Lyriq Benet, Lynn Whitfield, and other great actors. Before it was a movie, it was a book written by Trisha R. Thomas. "Nappliy Ever After" shares a message about growth. The main character strives for perfection by her appearance. After a major breakdown, she releases the expectations of being perfect and allowing herself to grow. The industry should show more of this message, especially for our young black women.
In this generation, young black girls are taught to have the perfect appearance, instead of striving to be greater than the stereotypes. To all my black women who strive to have the perfect appearance, I am proud to say that YOU ARE NOT YOUR HAIR! You are a descendant of greatness. Throughout your struggles and setbacks, you are the beacon of light for the next generation.
You are beautiful, wonderful, and marvelous human beings, who set high standards for others. Be more than your hair. Be your own kind of beautiful! If people are not satisfied with who you are, then learn to let them go. I would rather be by myself, than pushing to get approval from others. Love yourself, and love the skin that you're in!